No one enjoys driving on slippery roads, but it’s an unfortunate part of most of our lives. Whether it’s due to heavy rainfall, snow, or ice, a slippery road can make even the most experienced driver nervous and make mistakes they wouldn’t otherwise make.
This article will give you a few useful tips for driving safely when roads are slippery so we can all feel a little safer out there.
Ensure you have the right tires
If you live in an area that regularly sees issues caused by slippery roads, you should invest in the right kind of tires. Snow tires are essential for inclement weather as they have deeper treads and a better design that focuses on keeping traction even on very slippery roads. Basic tires aren’t going to be very reliable when road conditions are poor.
Slow everything down
Everything you do when the roads are slippery needs to be at a much slower and more deliberate pace. Every aspect of driving—turning, braking, accelerating, changing lanes—becomes more dangerous when the roads are slippery. You should also consider reducing your speed to allow for more reaction time, and you’ll need to start braking much sooner than you’re used to. Even gentle curves in the road can be far more treacherous when your tires can’t get a reliable grip on the road, so take it easy when you’re turning.
Increase the distance between you and other cars
However many car lengths you normally put between yourself and the car in front of you should increase when the roads aren’t reliable. You might be the safest driver imaginable, but that doesn’t mean you can predict how other drivers will react to the rain or snow. Protect yourself first and foremost by leaving plenty of room between your car and any other cars around you. This space will make sure you have plenty of time to react to whatever they do.
Stay calm and don’t give in to panic
Nothing makes a heart jump quite like your car not being under your control anymore. One of the most important safety tips for driving on slippery roads is to stay calm and not panic if something goes wrong. If you start to fishtail to one side, gently start turning in that same direction to counteract it. If you can’t stop quickly enough at an intersection, stay calm and hold down your horn so other drivers are aware of the situation. The worst thing you can do is to panic and let go of the wheel or freeze up. That often only makes the situation more dangerous.
Driving in inclement weather requires us to put more thought into everything we do, whether we’re behind the wheel or not. That said, you should also check your tire pressure before driving on slippery roads, as underinflated tires can make keeping a grip even more difficult. Remember, a calm driver is a safe driver. Follow these tips, and you’ll be just fine.